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Collaborative Divorce

Understanding The Collaborative Divorce Process

Collaborative law was pioneered in California and is a process that allows both parties to negotiate and discuss the case while both of their attorneys are present. During this meeting, the goal is to settle a dispute with the absence of court intervention.

So in a collaborative process, both parties are represented by attorneys who are trained and committed to identify issues and pursue solutions without court intervention. Both parties (and the attorneys) must have the ability to agree and respectfully discuss problems in pursuit of arriving at a mutual agreement. If any party during the process becomes disrespectful, unreasonable or threatens to pursue litigation, the collaborative process is immediately terminated. Collaborative divorce requires a level of commitment by both parties to negotiate the terms of their divorce openly with a goal to work towards a reasonable solution.  The process involves the following steps:

  • Each spouse hires a collaborative attorney that will work closely with the client and help guide and negotiate on their behalf to ensure their interests are represented and advocated effectively throughout the process.

  • Usually both parties sign a "Participation Agreement" by which they commit to resolving all issues concerning the divorce without court involvement.

  • Both spouses agree to full disclosure of all information that is relevant to the divorce and pertinent to negotiating fair decisions in good faith.

  • An initial face-to-face meeting between parties takes place for the exchange of all important information, including assets, debts, and sources and amounts of income.

  • The short-term and long-term needs and concerns of each spouse are discussed and possible solutions are explored

  • Priority is placed on the needs of any children involved.

  • If necessary, third party professionals such as accountants, appraisers, communication coaches, and child specialists may be included in order to gain information or determine all possible options.

  • Parties reach an agreement on resolution of all issues that sufficiently addresses all needs.

  • An official and legal settlement agreement, along with any other necessary and relevant legal documents, is prepared in order to finalize the terms of the divorce.

Benefits Of Collaborative Divorce

Divorce does not need to be a confrontational, but it does need the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney to ensure that all issues are resolved.

There are many benefits to a collaborative law divorce, including:

  • Control – allows parties to negotiate aspects of a divorce on their own terms and gives spouses power over determining division of assets and custody arrangements instead of a judge.

  • Trust – sets a precedent for the future of a divorce that both parties will be cooperative and work together for the sake of their families and financial needs.

  • Communication – encourages open, honest, and direct discussion of each spouse's needs and concerns that can be valuable in creating agreements that are acceptable to both.

  • Cost Savings – the timeliness and lack of litigation drastically reduces the fees that each would need to pay throughout a contested divorce case.

  • Confidentiality – without court involvement and all necessary documents included, parties maintain the privacy of their case without any potential embarrassment or unwanted attention.

Collaborative law is a method of divorce that is used to find an amicable way of resolving family law disputes. To begin discussing your legal needs with our firm, please contact one of our family law attorneys at The Maroto Law Group.

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